A new program was launched Wednesday that recruits technology companies based in Iowa to serve as ambassadors to middle-school and high-school students to encourage young adults to pursue tech related careers in the state.
Leann Jacobson is the president of the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI), which is implementing the program called "HyperStream." Jacobson says there are 10,000 unfilled hi-tech jobs in the state today, while at the same time, the enrollment in tech-related degree programs at the state’s colleges and universities is declining. Jacobson says the recruit businesses to be Hyperstream ambassadors to work with 8th through 12th grade students.
Jacobson says they have a presentation that helps educate students, teachers and counselors about the field, as she says they’re fighting a lot of misconception about the industry. Jacobson says the ambassadors can show the students how wide and varied the tech field is. She says they talk about all the opportunities in Iowa and all the things they can do in the state.
Jacobson says they also talk about how the industry isn’t just for the "very, very brilliant" students in math and science who get the jobs, as she says there are jobs for all sorts of talents. Jacobson says they try to overcome the idea that you have to be a geek to go into the field. One of the ways they do that is by getting the students involved through the ambassadors program.
Jacobson says they will have Hyperstream clubs with mentors that come into the classroom, there’s also job shadowing and internship opportunities, and projects to help their community. Jacobson says the program will include over 40 schools across the state, including Waukee, Ankeny, and Urbandale.